Known for its nickel production all over China, Jinchuan Group is the world’s fourth largest producer of nickel and the third largest producer of cobalt, leading in the non-ferrous metals industry worldwide. Its products are widely used; for example, Jinchuan Group provided nickel and cobalt as part of the raw materials used to make China‘s Shenzhou 5 Spacecraft.
Non-ferrous metals is a manufacturing industry with a long history where raw materials are multi-element resources with high grade fluctuations and need to go through complex smelting processes. There are a large number of complex physical and chemical change processes during the production. Therefore, pain points need to be solved, such as strict safety and environmental protection and high labor and energy costs, to ensure stable and continuous production.
The finished product packaging workshop of the nickel smelting factory under Jinchuan Group (hereinafter referred to as “finished product workshop”) is responsible for storing, processing, packing, and shipping out nickel products of the company to its customers. Even though the process might sound simple, incoming materials need to go through a lot of small segments such as conveyance, testing and grading, shearing, shaping, flattening, weighing, coding, packaging, storage, and loading. A lot of efforts and technologies are required to realize the total digital transformation of the workshop.
In the past, many processes such as plate lifting, shearing, packing, coding, film winding, hanging, and shaping, were done by manpower, resulting in high production risks and labor intensity and low operational efficiency. Due to reliance on manual records, paper files and other primitive means, mistakes could be easily made in data records in processes such as upstream incoming materials, testing and grading, nickel plate delivery, and equipment maintenance, and the data could be lost and could not be analyzed in a comprehensive way. If these data are collected through new digital technologies, they will bring value to the business of the company.